Innovation Key to Competitive Advantage and Growth
Arciszewski and Boris Zlotin
This report is intended for
business executives and engineers concerned about the future and about the
competitive advantage and growth of their organizations. It is the first
in a series of publications intended to educate the public about
innovation and about new technologies supporting it. In this report, the
reader will learn how the progress in our civilization, and in engineering
in particular, led to Design Engineering, and how Inventive
Engineering is emerging now. In this context, Ideation/TRIZ, a new
inventive engineering technology, is presented.
Inventive Engineering is an
emerging science dealing mostly with engineering design processes when
innovation is a critical factor. The present research in this area,
conducted at Ideation International Inc. and at several universities,
addresses three fundamental issues:
how to design novel
engineering systems (Ideation/TRIZ Methodology)
how to eliminate their
failures (Ideation Anticipatory Failure Determination process)
how to predict their
development (Ideation Directed Evolution process)
Addressing the triangle of
these interrelated issues will ultimately result not only in new
generations of inventive products, but also in acquiring priceless
intellectual capital. Both results will lead to building the competitive
advantage and growth for the companies which first embrace methods and
tools of Inventive Engineering.
"The Power of
Invention" is a strong and meaningful title of the first special
issue in Newsweek’s series entitled "A New Millennium," which
was published in December of 1997. The series will be devoted to several
critical topics which have made the strongest impact on our civilization,
and on the history of this country in particular. It is no coincidence
that the first special issue is on inventions. There is no other kind of
human activity more important than inventing for the well-being of nations
and for their future. Inventions, based on innovative concepts, have been
the driving force behind all changes in our lives, including social,
political and technological changes. The history of our civilization has
always been driven by innovation, and its importance can never be
overestimated. It is ever growing, particularly now, when modern societies
evolve and gradually move into the age of Information Technology. The next
age will be the Innovation Age. Its emergence can be easily inferred when
the evolution of engineering is considered, as discussed in this report.
The Renaissance brought us
humanism and progress in fine arts. It also brought us the emergence of
military engineering from the domain of fine arts, from which gradually
came about the branch of civil engineering. Next, civil engineering
developed into a number of domain-oriented engineering sciences,
including structural, mechanical, electrical, and other engineering
sciences. During the last several years, the progress in information
technology stimulated the development of a number of interdisciplinary
engineering sciences, for example, Design Engineering, and, as
discussed in Section 3, Design Research. Subsequently, a new sub-area of
Design Engineering is emerging now, and it is called Inventive
Engineering. Its emergence is driven by the importance of innovation
in design, and in engineering in general, and by the progress in design
research. Inventive Engineering will be an engineering bridge to
the next millennium, to a new renaissance in which Information Technology
and Inventive Engineering will be the driving forces changing our
civilization. Also, it will allow engineering sciences to evolve and to
satisfy the needs of our civilization in the next century.
including the software industry, are crucial for the survival and growth
of countries and entire continents. These industries are presently
in a period of strong domestic and international competition for the
market share. Therefore, they are trying to improve their competitive
advantage and thus stimulate their growth. Innovation of products and
manufacturing processes is the most important and crucial aspect of
competitive advantage, decisive for the growth of engineering
organizations. For products, innovation is a major feature of new yet
feasible design solutions, also called design concepts, providing a clear
competitive advantage in terms of novelty, quality, and cost with respect
to other competing solutions/concepts. Obviously, innovation is born in
the early stages of the design process, called "conceptual
design," when the design concepts are being developed. This process
is the subject of interest in Design Engineering and in Inventive
Engineering, when innovation is the focus.
For all the reasons discussed
above, innovation and Inventive Engineering are becoming extremely
important in engineering. Therefore, any progress related to them will
have a tremendous impact not only on the industries using innovation, but
also on the future of various countries and on our own lives. Also, in
this case, at stake is not only our own level of comfort and our survival
as a civilization, but also the future of our children.
Research and Innovation
When the engineering design
process is considered, two main stages can be distinguished. The first is
usually called "conceptual design," while the second is
referred to as "detailed design." The entire design process ends
with the development of a description of a future engineering system,
called the "design," or the "final design solution."
Such a description has two major components: an abstract (qualitative) and
a numerical (quantitative) component. The abstract component is usually
called a "design concept," or an "initial design
solution." A design concept is an abstract description of a future
engineering system which contains all necessary information for the
development of the final and detailed design of this system. Respectively,
a numerical component of the final design solution is a numerical
description (dimensions, weights, etc.) of the system, containing all
numerical information necessary for the realization of the system.
The relationship between the
competitive advantage of American manufacturing industries and the
innovation of their products in the context of conceptual design was
realized in the mid-eighties. Consequently, a significant effort has been
made to study the conceptual design process and the issue of innovation in
design. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Advanced Research
Programs Administration (ARPA) have supported a number of research
projects in this area, which were conducted at the leading research
universities in this country. As one of the results of this research, a
new engineering science was established: Design Engineering.
This interdisciplinary science deals with engineering design processes and
with the development of design support tools. At present, as the
importance of innovation in design becomes more apparent, a new sub-domain
of Design Engineering is emerging: Inventive Engineering.
This deals with the engineering design processes when innovation is a
crucial factor, and is pioneered by research conducted at Ideation
International Inc. in cooperation with several universities.
During the last several years,
the design-related research and development within the manufacturing
industries have been concentrated on concurrent design and on simultaneous
engineering. In both cases, the focus is on the timing factor in the
design and manufacturing process. Design for X, where the main focus is on
X, became the subject of research recently. The most successful research,
in terms of its industrial impact, is focused on Design for Manufacture
and Assembly (DFMA), which was initiated at various car manufacturers in
this country, in Europe and in Japan in the early 1990’s.
DFMA has been particularly
successful at Chrysler Corporation, where it was pioneered. DFMA has been
used for major new vehicle launches and for the continuous improvement of
current models. It is attributed to the significant reduction of the time
necessary to introduce a new model. For example, in the case of the
compact car Neon, the reduction was from about five to three and
a half years, with appropriate savings and with the gain of a significant
The success of DFMA at
Chrysler Corporation led to more research on design and to the realization
of the importance of innovation and of other factors in design. Therefore,
the development of a new methodology, called Proactive Design, was
initiated. Proactive Design is a class of related design methods, which
should be used in a coordinated way to produce a proactive design concept,
or a class of such concepts. A Proactive Design Concept of a given
engineering system satisfies all imposed product innovation, life cycle,
quality and cost requirements, including manufacturability, assembly,
serviceability requirements, etc., and it can be produced in a single
There are several major
reasons why innovation and, subsequently, Proactive Design, are
becoming crucial for the competitive advantage in manufacturing:
It provides the
opportunity to design products of desired innovation, quality and
It offers a good chance
to reduce the time and costs necessary to introduce new products to
The first reason is
particularly important from the industrial perspective, because it gives
the manufacturer control over all aspects of the final products in the
early stages of the design and manufacturing process. In practical terms,
this means that the traditionally sequential and repetitive design and
manufacturing process is transformed into a much shorter but complex
concurrent process. Also, Proactive Design is becoming important because
the impact of avoiding wrong decisions and developing products of an
undesired quality can not be measured simply in terms of financial losses.
Very often, the reputation of manufacturers depends on the quality of
their products, and failing to meet expectations may badly damage this
reputation, resulting in losses of market share.
Proactive Design is believed
to be the most advanced and promising design technology to improve the
competitive advantage of a manufacturing organization which embraces it
first. Innovation is the crucial aspect of Proactive Design. Therefore,
Ideation/TRIZ Technology should be considered in this context, as the
ultimate Inventive Engineering technology complementing and advancing
Proactive Design. In fact, it has already been used by the car
manufacturing industry for dealing with various difficult and important
problems, such as general noise reduction, the elimination of braking
noises, corrosion protection, and the development of an evolution line for
car steering systems.
Inventive Problem Solving
Engineering has a long history
(Table 1). Until the end of the 17th century, decision making in
engineering was based on experience in the form of rules of trade which
were gradually and empirically developed over centuries of successful and
failed projects. Therefore, this period is called the Age of Experience.
In the 18th century the Age of Reason began. The progress in
mathematics, in particular in the area of logic, resulted in attempts to
rationalize the understanding of the behavior of engineering systems and
to use this improved understanding for practical purposes. In the 19th
century, the progress in analytical methods resulted in the development of
various mathematical models describing the behavior of engineering
systems. This Age of Mathematics, which focused on mathematical
modeling, ended in the early 1950’s with the introduction of a digital
computer allowing computer implementations of complex mathematical models
and their complete analysis. The Age of the Computer lasted until
the 1980’s. For the present, the progress in Information Technology
(IT) has led to a shifting of focus in engineering from the computer
analysis of problems to the use of IT for the acquisition, processing and
utilization of knowledge about those problems. These changes are usually
referred to as the Information Technology (IT) revolution. In this
way, the IT Age has been born, with knowledge as the crucial
commodity. IT provides the means for engineers to concentrate on
innovation instead of on complex analytical work in order to improve the
competitive advantage of their organizations. Therefore, the next stage in
the evolution of engineering will be the Innovation Age.
Table 1. Evolution
|up to the
end of 17th century
– 19th century
century – 1950s
Inventive problem solving in
engineering also has a long history – dating back to the fifteen
century, to the beginning of the Renaissance, to the inventions and
innovative designs of Filippo Brunelleschi, Mariono di Iacopo and,
obviously, of Leonardo da Vinci. In this country, an extensive line of
inventors and scientists created inventive solutions and contributed to
the wealth of the nation. Many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century
engineers and giants of this century, including Thomas Edison, Graham Bell
and others, changed engineering. In the process, they also changed the
society and increased its wealth, securing its future in this way.
In the evolution of inventive
problem solving, at least four major periods can be distinguished (Table.
2). Until the 1950’s, the Classical Era can be identified. During
that time period, a descriptive approach was used to present various
inventive problem solving methods, and these methods were intended for
manual use. The progress in mathematical modeling and the introduction of
the computer changed the situation, resulting in the building of
mathematical models describing various inventive problem solving methods,
and the implementation of these methods in computer programs. The period
from the 1950’s to the 1980’s can be called the Computer Age.
The introduction of Information Technology in the 1980’s led to the
widespread use of the knowledge-based approach in building computer design
support tools for conceptual design and for problem solving. Therefore,
this period can be referred as the Information Technology Age, and
it has not ended yet. However, the emergence of Network Computing
Technology will have an impact on inventive problem solving, as is clearly
demonstrated by the rapidly growing research in this area. In this
context, it is not difficult to predict that during the next several years
a new generation of inventive problem solving methods and tools will be
developed and implemented. This will lead us into the Age of Network
Computing, in which problem solving will be conducted using a virtual
world approach, over computer networks, by teams with members located in
different places and using intelligent agents for problem solving.
Table 2. Evolution
of Problem Solving in Engineering
and descriptive methods
mathematical models and their computer implementation
1990s to the next century
The development of TRIZ is
rooted in engineering, not in psychology, as with the majority of other
inventive problem solving methods (for example, brainstorming or synectics).
It spans a period of more than 50 years, two continents, three political
systems, and is based on the efforts of a large group of talented
engineers and inventors. It started in the mid-forties when Genrich
Altshuller, a young and talented inventor, was working as a patent agent
for the Soviet Navy. His responsibility was to help inventors to file
their patent applications. However, many inventors also asked him for help
in solving their inventive problems in various domains. Therefore, he was
motivated to find a universal method useful for that purpose.
Unfortunately, such a method was unavailable at that time and thus he
decided to develop it. He soon began comparing patents from various
domains, looking for similarities. Surprisingly, he found many inventive
patterns underlying inventions in engineering. This discovery led him to a
vision of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), which would
allow engineers to solve inventive problems in a systematic way. During
the next four decades, he worked to implement this vision.
TRIZ is based on three
fundamental concepts, which were formulated in the context of conceptual
design: 1) Ideality, 2) Contradictions, and 3) System approach. These are
briefly discussed below.
The Ideality Concept
is crucial in the development of inventive concepts. An ideal
concept is a concept of an ideal system which is virtual, provides the required
functions, and produces no undesirable side effects.
interrelated pairs of features of an engineering system. When one feature
is improved, the second one is worsened – for example, stiffness and
weight. In this context, inventive problem solving requires the
identification and elimination of contradictions.
Using the System
Approach is crucial for arriving at inventive solutions. In this
case, a given engineering system must be considered within the context of
its supersystem (for example, a plane within the context of a
transportation system), and of its subsystems (individual components).
Also, it must be analyzed taking into account its predecessors and
successors, i.e. considering the process of its evolution.
In the evolution of TRIZ,
three stages can be distinguished (Table 3). The first period is usually
referred to as the Classical Era (1946 – 1980’s). During this
period, the conceptual foundation of TRIZ was formulated, and many methods
and tools were developed, but not integrated. Also, a large body of
engineering knowledge was accumulated. However, all results were produced
in a descriptive form appropriate only for the manual use of TRIZ. For
this reason, as well as the general state of apathy in the Soviet Union
which resulted in a reluctance to change and resistance to innovation,
TRIZ had only limited practical application.
Table 3. Evolution
of TRIZ Technology
fundamental concepts, descriptive approach to knowledge
presentation, development of independent tools for concept
||Systematic approach to
knowledge integration, attempts to build an integrated system of
methods and tools for the entire conceptual design process,
attempts to develop prototype software.
approach, advanced research to build an integrated systems of
methods and computer tools for the entire conceptual design
process, advanced software development.
The second period, often
called the Kishinev Era (1982-1992), started when Boris Zlotin,
an accomplished inventive problem solving expert, established, along with
Alla Zusman, a TRIZ technical school in Kishinev. This school provided
various forms of training, but also continued research on TRIZ. The
school’s objective was to integrate the individual TRIZ methods, tools,
and accumulated knowledge, and to present TRIZ in a form acceptable for an
international audience and for computerization. Also, they wanted to
develop TRIZ as a technology for dealing with all stages of the inventive
problem solving process, since the original TRIZ was focused mostly on the
concept development stage. Their pioneering research, its rapid progress,
and the initial prototype computer tools, caught the attention of Zion
Bar-El, an entrepreneur in the areas of high technology and innovation. He
immediately realized the potential of TRIZ and decided to build a company
to utilize it in the American industrial environment. Ideation
International Inc. was born. Consequently, the entire TRIZ Kishinev School
team was relocated to the United States, becoming part of Ideation
The third period, called the Ideation
Era, started in 1992. This period can be characterized by several
major developments. First, TRIZ was used to solve a number of complex and
difficult inventive problems in this country for the car manufacturing,
aerospace, textile, wood and petrochemical industries. For example, a
novel containment ring for an airplane engine fan was invented for Allied
Signal, and a new type of brake system for a golf cart was invented for
the automotive division of Rockwell International. The entire evolution of
TRIZ is shown in Fig. 1, which clearly demonstrates the individual eras
and their major accomplishments.
Figure 1. Evolution
The impressive results of
using TRIZ, mentioned above, have established the credibility of Ideation
International Inc. within the engineering community and allowed them to
start offering various TRIZ-related courses to industry engineers. The
research initiated in Kishinev has been also continued. Its ultimate
objective is to adapt and develop TRIZ for the American engineering
environment, including all recent design research developments. The
specific objectives are to develop an integrated system of methods and
tools for the entire conceptual design process, and to develop a new
generation of analytical and knowledge-based computer tools containing the
accumulated engineering knowledge. All these objectives lead to an
integrated system, which is called here the Ideation/TRIZ Technology,
and which will also include an educational component. The present research
and developments are rooted in Information Technology and they mostly
utilize the knowledge-based approach. The development of Ideation/TRIZ
Technology reflects the paradigm shift from the purely analytic to an
IT-based and knowledge-driven approach to inventive problem solving. In
its present form, this technology is intended to become the 21st-century
standard in inventive problem solving, as Finite Elements Analysis is the
standard analytical technology in mechanical or structural engineering.
Technology is understood here
as a complete system available for practical applications containing a
methodology, various computer support tools, instructional materials, etc.
In this context, Ideation/TRIZ Technology is an emerging technology for
dealing with the evolving engineering systems. It is applicable in all
situations when inventive solutions, or concepts, are sought, existing
systems have to be improved, or the evolution of engineering systems is to
be analyzed and predicted. The technology has already achieved an advanced
level of development justifying its practical use. It has three
interrelated components, including Methodology, Tools, and Educational
Support. The core component is Methodology, and therefore its
assumptions and extend are discussed here with some details. The remaining
two components are only briefly mentioned in the context of the Methodology.
The development of TRIZ has
been based on the four key findings. These findings have become the main
assumptions for this technology and are therefore listed below and then
Levels of inventions
Patterns of inventions
Patterns of evolution
An inventive problem
is a problem that contains at least one contradiction. A contradiction
occurs when attempts to improve one feature of the system lead to the
degradation of another feature. For example, in the case of members which
undergo bending, there is a contradiction between stiffness and weight.
Based on the analysis of tens
of thousands of patents, a classification of levels of inventions,
or levels of inventive solutions (concepts), was proposed by Altshuller.
It is the following classification with five categories:
are simply selected from a class of known solutions in a given
are modified solutions from a given engineering domain or are obtained
as a combination of known solutions from this domain.
Inventions inside a
paradigm are solutions produced as combinations of known
solutions from different but related domains. (for example, structural
and mechanical engineering)
Inventions outside a
paradigm are solutions produced using knowledge from at least
two much different domains (for example, structural engineering and
are solutions based on new scientific principles (for example, an x-ray
machine based on the recently discovered principles of radiation)
Ideation/TRIZ Technology can
be effectively used when inventive concepts of levels 2 through 4 are
sought. Its use is particularly recommended when inventions inside or
outside a paradigm are desired.
It has been discovered that
the same contradictions have been addressed by a number of inventions in
various areas of engineering. Therefore, there is methodological and
technical knowledge about inventions which may be extracted, compiled and
generalized enabling future inventors to use it. This knowledge is called
here Patterns of Inventions.
When evolution of various
engineering systems is considered, similar changes can be observed, even
when compared systems were developed in entirely different domains. For
example, parts of a car, of an airplane, of a machine, all gradually
become dynamic, that is flexible, capable to change. Obviously,
engineering systems do not evolve randomly, but their evolution follows Patterns
of Evolution. These patterns can be revealed and used for the
directed system improvement without numerous blind trials.
The TRIZ-related engineering
design knowledge has been accumulated as a result of more than 50
years of research. It represents a significant amount of the human
inventive experience and it has been acquired from patents and from other
sources documenting the history of engineering evolution. This knowledge
is structured into four levels considering its impact on the conceptual
Level 1 – Selected
Examples of Inventions
Level 2 – Inventive
Principles, 76 Standard Solutions, and "Effects"
Level 3 – System of
Level 4 – Patterns and
Lines of Evolution
Selected examples of
inventive solutions, which are representative for a class of
problems from various domains, are the simplest form of knowledge. They
can be used for inspiration in conceptual design, directly utilized in the
case-based design, or used in various forms of analogical reasoning.
are rules for system transformations. Each principle is intended to
eliminate a single contradiction or several contradictions. Also, these
principles can be used simply to stimulate, or initiate, the inventive
conceptual design process. A Standard Solution represents a
frequently used solution for a specific type of problem which is not
necessarily formulated as a contradiction. It can be also interpreted as a
specific rule for system transformation. Seventy six such Standard
Solutions have been identified and organized into five
classes for their future use.
Effects is a
structured collection of various pieces of fundamental
knowledge which were found particularly useful in conceptual design.
Operator is the
general name given in the IDEATION/TRIZ Methodology to an inventive
principle or/and to a Standard Solution. All Operators have been divided
into three classes, including Universal, General, and Specialized
Operators. They are organized in blocks, created for addressing different
types of problems, and they form a net-like structure with numerous
interconnections. Connections create associative chains, guiding a user in
the direction towards increasing the system’s Ideality.
For a given class of
engineering systems, eight Patterns of Evolution can be
identified. Each pattern represents a description of the process of
possible changes of these systems and a collection of rules governing this
process. For example, Pattern of Evolution Toward Increased Dynamism
and Controllability states that in the course of development,
engineering systems evolve from inflexible systems into flexible ones. (A
rigid chair becomes a folding chair or a chair with moveable components).
Methodology and Tools
A methodology is understood
here as a collection of related methods to solve a class of problems.
Ideation/TRIZ Methodology is mostly intended for dealing with engineering
problems. However, recent applications in the area of business management
were successful and clearly demonstrated its feasibility in this area.
In the case of engineering
design, Ideation/TRIZ Methodology can be used in the conceptual design
process, which produces design concepts. By this term are meant various
abstract descriptions of a future engineering system which contain all
necessary information for the development of the final and detailed design
of this system. The major stages of the conceptual design process are
Within this process, Ideation/TRIZ
Technology provides methods, tools and educational support to deal with
the first four stages. In addition, during the concept implementation
stage of the design process, TRIZ Technology can be used for dealing with
At present, Ideation/TRIZ
Technology contains two classes of tools, called "Analytical
Tools" and knowledge-based "Concept Development Tools,"
respectively. The first class provides methods and computer tools for
Problem Identification and Problem Formulation. It contains Algorithm for
Inventive Problem Solving (ARIZ), Substance-Field Analysis, and recently
developed Innovation Situation Questionnaire and Problem Formulator. The
second class of tools is intended for Concept Development and it includes
several knowledge-based tools, for example, tools utilizing selected
examples of inventions, inventive principles, effects, or a system of
Questionnaire is an analytical tool for documenting the problem.
It helps to organize the knowledge about the problem including the
identification of the desired improvements, of the available resources and
is an analytical tool for revealing exhaustive set of Directions for
Innovation. It helps build a functional model of the problem and generate
a set of problem statements based on revealing relationship between useful
and harmful functions.
is an analytical tool for developing functional models of a given problem.
Algorithm for Inventive
Problem Solving (ARIZ) is an analytical tool for modeling the
inventive problem, including revealing, formulating and resolving
contradictions in the context of concept generation process.
Engineering – the Bridge to the 21st Century
The history of our
civilization has clearly demonstrated that progress and paradigm changes
are driven by new developments in science and technology. Today, we are
living on the brink of the 21st Century and we are looking for directions
and inspiration to move our society into this next century. At the same
time, we witness significant transformations in the way engineering and
innovation are perceived in the process of building wealth of modern
societies and how progress in engineering sciences immediately leads to
the improved competitive advantage and growth. In this situation, it is
becoming crucial to identify and rapidly develop the engineering sciences
with the greatest impact on our future.
Considering the proven
importance of innovation in engineering as its driving force, as well as
the entire process of engineering evolution, the natural conclusion of
this report is to identify the Inventive Engineering as one of the
engineering sciences decisive for making the transition from the First to
the Second Millennium. This science can be considered as a an engineering
bridge to the 21st Century, a bridge to be build in order to enter the age
of Innovation, as described earlier in the Report.
The design and Information
Technology research should soon result in a development of a new
generation of design methods and tools, absolutely necessary to fully
establish the Inventive Engineering and to build our bridge to the
21st Century. In particular, the research on innovation in design, on the
intelligent agents, on the automated knowledge acquisition, or on the
logical foundations of design, should lead in the near future to a merger
of engineering and Information Technology in the context of design.
This process has already been initiated and its rapid progress is
The Inventive Engineering
is an emerging area of design engineering. It is an engineering science
dealing with design processes when innovation is a critical factor. Within
this science, three major areas can be distinguished, including 1).
Fundamental Methodology, 2). Methodics, and 3). Tools development.
The subject of interest in the
first area are all the fundamental methodological issues related to
innovation in design, including the general models of the design
processes, the integration of various design methods and tools in a given
design process, the evolution of design processes, the issue of novelty
and its formal measures, etc. Methodics is understood here as a study of
the individual innovation-oriented design methods, including their
development, mathematical modeling and experimental verification. Tools
development area is self-explanatory, but in this case the use of advanced
programming languages and tools is much more dominant than in the other
engineering sciences, for example, in structural engineering.
The research leading to the
development of Inventive Engineering has been initiated at a number of
universities. In the industrial environment, Ideation International Inc.
is a pioneer of such research, mostly based on TRIZ. It is expected that
this research will be intensified, particularly and more design
researchers and engineers will discover the importance of innovation in
building a competitive advantage leading to the growth of their
View of the Future
The Ideation/TRIZ technology
is a living technology. It has been developed by experts in the analysis
and predictions of evolution of engineering systems. Therefore, the
existing technology can be considered as a part of an evolutionary line of
inventive engineering technologies. At each stage of this line, the
technology reflects the state of the art of the original Ideation
International Inc. research on inventive engineering as well as the state
of the art of design research and computer science in this country.
The present Ideation
International Inc. research is concentrated on the improvements of the
methodological foundation of IDEATION/TRIZ Methodology and on the
development and integration of various computer tools. Also, the
progress in collaborative design and in computing is closely monitored.
Therefore, it can be predicted that the new generation of the technology
will be developed for collaborative design using network computing and the
new advanced technology of intelligent agents.
The research is specifically
focused on the three fundamental engineering processes of inventive
problem solving, anticipatory failure determination, and of directed
evolution. These three processes will become gradually integrated creating
a foundation for the future engineering design practice combining the
generation of inventive solutions, predicting and avoiding failures, and
expanding engineering knowledge through learning evolution of engineering
systems. All three processes have been developed as five-step processes
which are relatively easy to conceptualize and to use. For example, an
outline of the Ideation Structured Process for Inventive Problem Solving
is shown below in Table 4.
Table 4. Ideation
Structured Process for Inventive Problem Solving
Document the problem
Complete and analyze
the Innovation Situation Questionnaire (ISQ).
Formulate the problem
Develop an exhaustive
set of directions for innovation using the Problem Formulator.
Develop an exhaustive
set of Solution Concepts using various knowledge-base
Evaluate results; plan
Concepts and develop an Implementation Plan.
Ideation International Inc. is
involved in providing an integrated support for its inventive engineering
technology. It includes short term courses and publishing various books,
reports and teaching materials for the general public interested in
IDEATION/TRIZ. Finally, Ideation International Inc. has developed several
computer software tools which are continuously being improved. In the
future, the continuation of all these activities is expected, but the
advanced Information Technology will be incorporated in the new products
and they will be most likely oriented toward collaborative design
utilizing the emerging technology of network computing.
The purpose of this Report was
to provide an initial outline of Ideation/TRIZ Technology in the context
of the state of the art. Also, the authors wanted to initiate a dialog
among design researches and the other professionals interested in
innovation in design, and ultimately in the competitive advantage and
growth of their organizations. Therefore, all comments and suggestions
regarding the Report would be highly appreciated and they will hopefully
lead to building a community of Inventive Engineering experts who
will become innovation leaders in their organizations.
a combination of innovative products of better quality and lower costs
and of shorter design and manufacturing cycles, when compared with
Design engineering: an
interdisciplinary engineering science dealing with engineering design
processes and with the development of design support computer tools.
an emerging area of design engineering dealing with engineering
design processes when innovation is a critical factor.
major feature of a new yet feasible design solution, or design concept,
with clear competitive advantage when compared to known concepts.
an abstract description of a future engineering system which contains all
necessary information for the development of the final and detailed design
of this system.
collection of related methods to solve a class of problems.
complete system available for practical applications containing a
methodology, various computer support tools, instructional materials, etc.
Tomasz Arciszewski is
the Associate Professor of Urban Systems Engineering in the School of
Information Technology and Engineering at George Mason University in
Fairfax, Virginia. He received his MS (Summa Cum Laude) and Ph.D. degrees
from the Warsaw University of Technology in 1970 and 1975, respectively.
He taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, at the Warsaw
University of Technology, and at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka. Over
the last two decades he has also gained practical design experience in
Poland and Switzerland. His research interests include design and
inventive engineering, and applications of information technology,
including network computing and machine learning, to engineering. His
research has been supported by various grants from the National Science
Foundation, NASA, the State of Michigan, and by industry (Chrysler
Corporation). He has authored or co-authored over ninety publications in
the areas of structural engineering, engineering design and artificial
intelligence, including several book chapters. His research on inventive
engineering led to the development of a conceptual design method which was
implemented in a computer program, and its use produced three inventions
in the area of structural engineering which were patented in Canada,
Poland, and the United States. He is one of the two Editors of the
recently published monograph "Knowledge Acquisition in Civil
Engineering" and the Technical Editor of the American Society of
Civil Engineers Journal "Computing in Civil Engineering."
Presently, he is the Chair of the Expert Systems and Artificial
Intelligence Committee of the same society.
Boris Zlotin is the
Chief Scientist and the Vice President of Ideation International Inc. He
received his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from the St.
Petersburg Polytechnic University, where he prepared three theses in
theoretical electromechanics. He became involved in teaching, researching,
and consulting in TRIZ in 1974. In 1981, he began working with Altshuller.
Together, they conducted fundamental research on TRIZ and participated in
numerous seminars throughout the Soviet Union. During his long
professional career, he has been successfully involved in solving more
than 4,000 engineering and business problems in Russia and the United
States. In the research area, Mr. Zlotin is credited with development of
Lines of Technological Evolution and Patterns of Evolution in various
engineering domains. His original results have been presented in nine
books, including three books co-authored with Altshuller.
The authors would like to
thank Ms. Alla Zusman of Ideation International Inc. for providing
invaluable comments and input which were used in writing this report.
Also, they would like to recognize the support of Ideation International
Inc. for the preparation of this report.
Submitted March 13, 1998.